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Exec: Health changes will boost costs

BISMARCK (AP) -- The president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota says health care reform measures in Congress would accelerate increases in insurance costs.

BISMARCK (AP) -- The president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota says health care reform measures in Congress would accelerate increases in insurance costs.

Paul von Ebers told the Legislature's interim Industry, Business and Labor Committee that the proposals require companies to offer more benefits than North Dakota customers usually buy.

He said premiums for small insurance groups would go up as much as 70 percent over five years. For the youngest insurance buyers, von Ebers said costs could double.

The federal health legislation requires everyone to have health insurance coverage. But von Ebers said the penalties for not carrying health insurance are relatively small.

He predicts people will buy coverage when they're ill, and drop it when they're healthy. He said that would drive up insurance costs.

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